THERE’S a fine line between being reliable and predictable.
When you buy a ticket for a gig the former can guarantee a good night out, the latter a bad one.
Although always entertaining, gypsy folk band Sheelanagig are such a familiar sight in Bristol they’re in danger of becoming part of the furniture.
But at the Fleece they proved they can still surprise a crowd even six years into their career.
Having said that, they were very nearly upstaged by their main support group.
At first, Australia’s Crooked Fiddle Band seemed like a Sheelanagig tribute act, playing the same, fast-paced fiddle music.
Then, after two songs, the show stopped so their hirsuite drummer could take the mic for a rambling tale about someone having their ear bitten off.
It was certainly different and drew the audience’s attention in for the rest of the set, which improved with every song.
There can’t be many support acts that get calls for an encore but a rapturous response from the crowd ensured there would be one more round.
They made for a hard act to follow, but Sheelanagig know how to get an audience going.
Violinist Aaron Catlow’s playing was as impressive as ever, matched by Adrian Sykes’ fast work with a flute.
The best moment though, was saved for last. Called back on for an encore, the band initially claimed they had no idea what to play.
Then they launched into an unexpected and surprisingly straight version of Rage Against the Machine’s classic “Killing in the name of”.
You really can’t go wrong with everyone’s favourite X-Factor beater, and it made for a riotous and surprisingly unpredictable finish.